If I get into Fuller, I will be starting Phd seminars this fall. That means my “out of school” phase is likely drawing to a close. Its been an awesome season to have more freedom to pursue personal reading and study projects that came up during my M.Div. and that I wouldn’t have time for if I had been in school continuously, but I’m getting to the point where I’m ready for more external stimuli. As I chart out the next several months before my learning is less personally motivated, I have two major goals. First, I want do a mini-project on Augustine, to get more comfortable with him. I’m going to read Peter Brown’s biography, and then various works by Augustine, starting with Confessions. I’ve always loved Augustine but not given him as much time as I could. I think this will be helpful preparation for further study in Anselm. But secondly, I’m going to do less overall reading, and instead focus more on research for a couple of articles I’ve been toying with for a while. I’ll make as much progress on them as I can, and then maybe send one or two or more off to different journals if I can finish them by the end of the summer, to see if any are worthy of publication.
1) “The Voice of His Blood: Atonement and Intercession in the Thought of Stephen Charnock.”
The first one is on the relationship between atonement and intercession in the thought of Stephen Charnock. This whole issue how how atonement and intercession relate to each other came up during my resurrection project, and I realized there is a lot to explore there. It seems to me like Christ’s intercession is a generally neglected topic among evangelicals, both academically and in devotional thought, and yet its an important part of Christ’s saving work in the New Testament. Its not only the focus of a number of important New Testament passages among different authors (e.g., Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, 9:24, I John 2:1-2), but I think its a massive part of the Old Testament background to Christ’s priestly work, beginning with Leviticus 16, but also leaving its stamp on passages like Isaiah 53, Psalm 110, Micah 7:9, and others. At the same time, some voices which are emphasizing the intercessory work of Christ seem to do so at the expense of Jesus’ atoning work at the cross. Charnock is an extremely helpful guide on how atonement and intercession relate to each other, as the two complementary aspects of Jesus’ priestly office. He argues for a very close relationship between the two, and the specific ways he teases this out are very creative, edifying, and illuminating. I discovered his treatment of Christ’s intercession in the Fuller library after reading about it in William Symington, himself someone I just stumbled across online. I think the topic is worthy of exploration in itself, and Charnock also deserves more attention than he has gotten. I’m wondering if the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology might be my best shot for this one, with their evangelical orientation and interest in reformed thought?
2) “Genesis 5:3 and the Imago Dei.”
A project that’s been on my mind for a while to explore is Genesis 5:3 in relation to the Imago Dei. I find it an amazing verse, and am surprised that its relation to the Imago Dei hasn’t been explored yet in an article-length treatment, to the best of my ability to discern. I think there is a lot to say here, and I’d love to give it a try, although I wonder if I might get into it and realize I’m in over my head! No idea where to aim for publication on this one.
3) “Was Kierkegaard an Irrationalist?”
In college I wrote a paper called “Was Kierkegaard an Irrationalist?” It was pretty basic, but I think it could be fun to update it and see if it was publishable. I think I can show that this common perception is way off base. I have no idea where to seek publication for this, or if it will develop enough to be worth the effort. But I wonder if it could perhaps be a “Philosophical Note” in Philosophia Christi, or a similar kind of shorter article in another philosophy journal.
4) “Why Not Grand-children? A Question for Covenantal Paedobaptists.”
Finally, I’d love to publish something brief containing an expanded and more scholarly version of my main argument against reformed paedobaptism. I think my approach is somewhat unique (quite unintentionally so): most credo-baptist literature focuses on the claim that paedobaptism over-stresses continuity between the old and new covenants, whereas I say that the movement from “children of Abraham” to “children of believers” is more fundamentally an error of discontinuity. I think this argument is simple and decisive and also undercuts the paedobaptist argument more clearly on its own turf, and forces the conversation with credo-baptists into new and more helpful avenues. I don’t know if this will really develop into an article, but if so, I’d love to shoot for Themelios. Yikes that would start some interesting email dialogues!!
I hope this post isn’t a violation of James 4:13-17. In some ways, all of it – including the Phd – feels like a long shot. But God has given me these longings for study and intellectual exploration, so I’m going to chase them down, as much as I can find time on my days off. Life is short, so why not give it a shot?
Sounds exciting, Gav!